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Game Review: “Citizen Sleeper”

If you are craving a narrative heavy game that you can just relax and vibe to while experiencing an existential capitalist crisis then Citizen Sleeper just might be the thing for you. Developed by Jump Over The Age and published by Fellow Traveler Citizen Sleeper is such a weird game to me and it is hard to describe but I will just try my best here.

It’s a Text-Based cyberpunk single-player table-top game with RPG elements thrown in. You play as a “sleeper” a sort of robot that is borrowing a human consciousness, you essentially lease your mind to this robot company. All of that set against a sci-fi space colony and corporatism backdrop.

Just one of the unique looking characters you will come across.

You wake up on a orbital space colony and the owners of your robot-body are racing across space to your signal to reclaim you after you mysteriously disappeared and were re-activated. This game is very heavy on the text/narrative so expect to be reading a lot about what your character sees, what is being done to you, and about the overall aesthetic of the game. If you have ever read any of the Wheel Of Time books then I can compare it to that in terms of environmental descriptions.

The overall feel of the game is very Bladerunner-esque and while most things are explained to you rather than shown, the art style and colors that you do get to see are very bright and beautiful. The music is phenomenal, a mixture of low-fi and industrial, and I found myself humming the different tracks throughout my playthrough. Honestly the art and music are probably the game’s biggest strengths. Let’s chat about the gameplay.

An example of NPC dialog and text.

Gameplay

Citizen Sleeper‘s gameplay is best summed up as you start each day with 1-5 preloaded dice and their corresponding values are random (although you can learn a skill that allows you to re-roll them once a day/cycle). You spend these dice on different actions and you are told beforehand what your probability of success will be based on the die you choose to use. Some actions have a safety net while others are more dangerous so how you use your dice to the maximize or minimize the outcome is up to you.

You have to manage your energy meter though as getting hit with too many bad results or damage will decrease the amount of dice you start with the next day. While you can’t die from damage, you lose your passive skills and are penalized in your interactions until you heal up. As you take on questlines from various citizens that your help you will be forced to ultimately decide what is the best use of your time and energy.

Use it to help construct a ship that might take you along with it? Or help out a working father with watching his daughter so he can pick up more work shifts? There are multiple storylines and many have more than one outcome depending on what you do or if you even complete them before the deadline.

An example of gameplay. The dice are at the top and the various actions you can take are on the left and right.

The game has a beautiful aesthetic but it’s very obtuse about it’s systems with it’s very minimalistic tutorials. I found myself bored and bogged down halfway meandering through the different questlines. I stopped and started a new playthrough to see if there were things that would click by refreshing my mind. As soon as I did that things began making sense to me and  I started really loving and appreciating this quirky title.

Closing Thoughts

The game has a very critical take on crony capitalism and doesn’t shy away from it. It paints a human face on those who suffer from it, those who benefit from it, and those who just subsist in it. That paired with the terrific soundtrack left me with a strong impression long after the credits rolled. It is hard for me to recommend Citizen Sleeper to the average gamer. I think if you are into D&D or into storytelling that is less focused on visceral action and more on world-building you might like this title. For all these reasons I give it a 7.5/10 .

All that said it is free on GamePass so you can just play it there if you already have that subscription. Citizen Sleeper is available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. Be sure to check out all the cool content GeekNewsNow puts out on our website as well as our YouTube Channel and join the GNN Greats where you can take part in polls and community discussions with us! Also check out some of my other game reviews! As always, stay geeky!

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